DIVE REPORT: SPOTLIGHT ON THE SPIEGEL

The Spiegel Grove was intentionally sunk in June 2002. After some hiccups, she landed on her side. FLORIDA KEYS & KEY WEST/Contributed

Windy, windy, windy. Oh, and did I say windy? We always say that the winds determine whether or not we can get out, and they kept us on shore many days.

The winds did finally let up last Friday and Saturday, and we went out. Saturday was beautiful. We did an amazing “double dip” trip on one of our most famous wrecks: the Spiegel Grove. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the intentional sinking of the Spiegel Grove to become an artificial reef and dive destination. Have you ever dived on her before? At 510 feet long and 84 feet high, she’s truly a wonder. 

Before she landed in our waters, the USS Spiegel Grove was a dock landing ship in the U.S. Navy. She was actually named after the home and estate of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States. 

The community worked hard to raise the funds to tow her to the Keys, to ready her to become a large artificial reef and to intentionally sink her. On June 10, 2002, they did just that, but she didn’t sink! Eventually, they did get her down, but she landed on her side. She stayed like that for a good while, until Hurricane Dennis came through in July 2005. After the weather settled, divers reported something miraculous: the storm had righted the Spiegel Grove. She now sits perfectly upright in 130 feet of water in the Upper Keys.

Next Week’s Dive Report

The beginning of the week is going to be great. Mid-week, we will have high winds for a few days. The weekend, as of now, looks beautiful. Fingers crossed it stays that way. 

Conservation Update

Shipwrecks are amazing to dive on not just for their history and incredible structures, but also because they are artificial reefs. They’re teeming with sea life that includes corals, sponges, fish, crustaceans, octopuses and more! We often see big sharks patrolling near our wrecks and even a Goliath grouper or two. 

Conservation Tip

When diving on a wreck, watch your buoyancy and stay aware of your surroundings, just like you would on a reef. There’s lots of life that lives on the ship hull.

I.CARE Tip

Coral outplantings with ICARE will take place at Islamorada Dive Center on Saturday. Come out with us to help! 

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Eric Billips is is the owner, captain and instructor at Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys